So Dark the Con of Man
The Priory of Sion -- a European secret society founded in 1099 -- is a real organization. In 1975, Paris's Bibliothèque Nationale discovered parchments known as Les Dossiers Secrets, identifying numerous members of the Priory of Sion, including Sir Isaac Newton, Botticelli, Victor Hugo, and Leonardo da Vinci.
The Vatican prelature known as Opus Dei is a deeply devout Catholic group that has been the topic of recent controversy due to reports of brain-washing, coercion, and a practice known as "corporal mortification." Opus Dei has just completed construction of a $47 million National Headquarters at 243 Lexington Avenue in New York City.
All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate. The Da Vinci Code (2003) p. 1
Previous Priory Grand Masters had also been distinguished public figures with artistic souls. Proof of that fact had been uncovered years ago in Paris's Bibliothèque Nationale in papers that became known as Les Dossiers Secrets.
Every Priory historian and Grail buff had read the Dossiers. Cataloged under 4 º lm1 249, the Dossiers Secrets had been authenticated by many specialists and incontrovertibly confirmed what historians has suspected for a long time: Priory Grand Masters included Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, Sir Isaac Newton, Victor Hugo, and, more recently, Jean Cocteau, the famous Parisian artist. The Da Vinci Code (2003) p. 206
And many have made a trade of delusions and false miracles, deceiving the stupid multitude. The Da Vinci Code (2003) p. 231 cf.
Teabing smiled. "And everything you need to know about the Bible can be summed up by the great canon doctor Martyn Percy." Teabing cleared his throat and declared, "The Bible did not arrive by fax from heaven."
"I beg your pardon?"
The Bible is a product of man, my dear. Not of God. The Bible did not fall magically from the clouds. Man created it as a historical record of tumultuous times, and it has evolved through countless translations, additions, and revisions. History has never had a definitive version of the book."
Jesus Christ was a historical figure of staggering influence, perhaps the most enigmatic an inspirational leader the world has ever seen. As the prophesied Messiah Jesus toppled kings, inspired millions, and founded new philosophies. As a descendant of the lines of King Solomon and King David, Jesus possessed a rightful claim to the throne of the King of the Jews. Understandably, His life was recorded by thousands of followers across the land." Teabing paused to sip his tea and then place the cup back on the mantel. "More than eighty gospels were considered for the New Testament, and yet only a relative few were chosen for inclusion -- Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John among them.
Who chose which gospels to include?" Sophie asked.
"Aha!" Teabing burst in with enthusiasm. "The fundamental irony of Christianity! The Bible, as we know it today, was collated by the pagan Roman emperor Constantine the Great." The Davinci Code (2003) p. 231
Teabing groaned. "Don't get a symbologist started on Christian icons. Nothing in Christianity is original. The pre-Christian God Mithras -- called the Son of God and the Light of the World -- was born on December 25, died, was buried in a rock tomb, and then resurrected in three days, By the way, December 25 is also the birthday of Osiris, Adonis, and Dionysus. The newborn Krishna was present with gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Even Christianity's weekly holy day was stolen from the pagans."
What do you mean?"
"Originally," Langdon said, "Christianity honored the Jewish Sabbath of Saturday, bur Constantine shifted it to coincide with the pagan's veneration day of the sun." He paused, grinning. "To this day, most churchgoers attend services on Sunday morning with no idea that they are there on account of the pagan sun god's weekly tribute -- Sunday."
Sophie's head was spinning. "And all of this relates to the Grail?
"Indeed," Teabing said. "Stay with me. During this fusion of religions, Constantine needed to strengthen the new Christian tradition, and held a famous ecumenical gathering known as the Council of Nicaea."
Sophie had heard of it only insofar as its being the birthplace of the Nicene Creed.
"At this gathering," Teabing said, "many aspects of Christianity were debated and voted upon -- 'the date of Easter, the role of the bishops, the administration of sacraments, and, of course , the divinity of Jesus."
"I don't follow. His divinity?"
"My dear," Teabing declared, "until that moment in history, Jesus was viewed by His followers as a mortal prophet... a great and powerful man, but a man nonetheless. A mortal."
"Not the Son of God?"
"Right," Teabing said. "Jesus' establishment as 'the Son of God' was officially proposed and voted on by the Council of Nicaea."
"Hold on. You're saying Jesus' divinity was the result of a vote?"
"A relatively close vote at that," Teabing added. The Da Vinci Code (2003) p. 232-3
"Because Constantine upgraded Jesus' status almost four centuries after Jesus' death, thousands of documents already existed chronicling His life as a mortal man. To rewrite the history books Constantine knew he would need a bold stroke. From this sprang the most profound moment in Christian history." Teabing paused, eyeing Sophie. "Constantine commissioned and financed a new Bible, which omitted those gospels that spoke of Christ's human traits and embellished those gospels that mad him godlike. The earlier gospels were outlawed, gathered up, and burned." The Davinci Code (2003) p. 234
"Fortunately for historians," Teabing said, "some of the gospels that Constantine attempted to eradicate managed to survive. The Dead Sea Scrolls were found in the 1950's hidden in a cave near Qumran in the Judean desert. And, of course, the Coptic Scrolls in 1945 at Nag Hammadi. In addition to telling the true Grail story, these documents speak of Christ's ministry in very human terms. Of course, the Vatican, in keeping with their tradition of misinformation, tried very hard to suppress the release of these scrolls, And why wouldn't they? The scrolls highlight glaring historical discrepancies and fabrications, clearly confirming that the modern Bible was compiled and edited by men, who possessed a political agenda -- to promote the divinity of the man Jesus Christ and use His influence to solidify their own power base." The Da Vinci Code (2003) p. 234
"What I mean," Teabing countered, "is that almost everything our fathers taught us about Christ is false." The Da Vinci Code (2003) p. 235
"Hold on," Sophie said. "You told me the Holy Grail is a woman. The Last Supper is a painting of thirteen men."
"Is it?" Teabing arched his eyebrows. "Take a closer look."
Uncertain, Sophie made her way closer to the painting, scanning the thirteen figures -- Jesus Christ in the middle, six disciples on His left, and six on His right. "They're all men," she confirmed.
"Oh?" Teabing said. "How about the one seated in the place of honor, at the right and of the Lord?"
Sophie examined the figure to Jesus' immediate right, focusing in. As she studied the person's face and body. a wave of astonishment rose within her. The individual had flowing red hair, delicate folded hands, and the hint of a bosom. It was without a doubt... female. The Da Vinci Code (2003) p. 243
"These are photocopies of the Nag Hammadi and Dead Sea scrolls, which I mentioned earlier," Teabing said. "The earliest Christian record. Troublingly, they do not match up with the gospels in the Bible." The Da Vinci Code (2003) p. 245-6
Flipping toward the middle of the book, Teabing pointed to a passage. "The Gospel of Philip is always a good place to start."
Sophie read the passage:
And the companion of the Saviour is Mary Magdalene. Christ loved her more than all the disciples and used to kiss her often on her mouth. The rest of the disciples were offended by it and expressed disapproval. They said to him, "Why do you love her more than all of us?"
The words surprised Sophie, and yet they hardly seemed conclusive. "It says nothing of marriage."
"Au contraire." Teabing smiled pointing to the first line. "As any Aramaic Scholar will tell you, the word companion, in those days, literally meant spouse." The Da Vinci Code (2003) p. 246
The royal bloodline of Jesus Christ has been chronicled in exhaustive detail by scores of historians." He ran a finger down a row of several dozen books. Sophie tilted her head and scanned the list of titles:
Secret Guardians of the True Identity of Christ
THE WOMAN WITH THE
Mary Magdalene and the Holy Grail
THE GODDESS IN THE
Reclaiming the Sacred Feminine
"Here is perhaps the best-known tome," Teabing said, pulling a tattered hardcover from the stack and handing it to her.
The cover read:
BLOOD, HOLY GRAIL
The Acclaimed International Bestseller The Da Vinci Code (2003) p. 253
Only two direct lines of Merovingians remain. Their family names are Plantard and Saint-Clair. Both families live in hiding, probably protected by the Priory." The Da Vinci Code (2003) p. 260
Wherever the Grail lay, Langdon never imagined he would actually be looking for it. The Sangreal documents. The true history of Jesus Christ. The tomb of Mary Magdalene. The Da Vinci Code (2003) p. 266
"There's an enormous difference between hypothetically discussing an alternate history of Christ, and..." He paused.
"And presenting to the world thousands of ancient documents as scientific evidence that the New Testament is false testimony." The Da Vinci Code (2003) p. 341
Sophie looked skeptical. "My friends who are devout Christians definitely believe that Christ literally walked on water, literally turned water into wine, and was born of a literal virgin birth."
"My point exactly," Langdon said. "Religious allegory has become a part of the fabric of reality. And living in that reality helps millions of people cope and be better people."
"But it appears their reality is false." The Da Vinci Code (2003) p. 342
Teabing laughed coldly. "My dear, the Church has two thousand years of experience pressuring those who threaten to unveil its lies. Since the days of Constantine, the Church has successfully hidden the truth about Mary Magdalene and Jesus. We should not be surprised that now, once again, they have found a way to keep the world in the dark. The Church may no longer employ crusaders to slaughter nonbelievers, but their influence is no less persuasive. The Da Vinci Code (2003) p. 407
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